RHEL7 Book review

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RHCSA 7/RHCE 7 certification books

  • Asghar Ghori‘s RHCSA & RHCE Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (04/2015) covers the RHCSA objectives quite well. Each time, he introduces the subject and covers most of the configuration details with lots of explanations. Except the lack of OpenLDAP/IPA server configuration, making difficult any client side testing, the RHCSA part is well written and pretty exhaustive.
    However, the RHCE part didn’t receive the same attention. Because the topics are pretty new, the quality is lower. If the introduction is still good, some chapters lack real technical material besides a basic tutorial. The IPv6, Kerberos and MariaDB coverages are minimal. The iScsi chapter needs a rewriting. Also, there is no Kerberos KDC/IPA server side configuration. If the RHCSA exam doesn’t require expert level, the RHCE exam does, which is not possible without troubleshooting experience.
    If you are searching for a good book preparing for the RHCSA exam, go for it. But, if you are mainly interested in a RHCE book, there are arguably better options.
  • Sander van Vugt‘s Red Hat RHCE/RHCSA 7 Cert Guide (09/2015) is the first book arguably offering advanced RHCE 7 material. Disclaimer: As I was one of the voluntary proofreaders of this book and spent more than one hundred hours on it, I’m obviously a little biased. Despite the proofreading job done, the first edition of this book displayed a lot of typos. A second edition is now available (03/2016).
  • Michael Jang & Alessandro Orsaria‘s RHCSA/RHCE Red Hat Linux Certification Study Guide 7th edition (03/2016) finally released their book.
    The RHCSA part of the book explains pretty well all the basics with very few typos. However, the coverage of the LDAP client configuration is very light with no LDAP server building instructions. Also, a major command to deal with disks, lsblk, is even not mentioned.
    The RHCE part of the book provides a good coverage of the different objectives. Postfix, Samba, iScsi, Apache and MariaDB topics are all discussed in details with a special attention for NFS and Kerberos.
    Globally, the book is a real success and should satisfy most of the readers.
    Because perfection doesn’t exist, there is still a minor drawback: only the RHEL 7.0 version is presented; all changes appearing in minor versions after it (nmcli syntax, NFS configuration, etc) are not discussed. That’s fine, because until now the RHCSA & RHCE exams currently use the RHEL 7.0 version. When that changes, ask for a book update (a second edition should come by the end of June 2017).

    • Quote from Archivis on Discord (25/06/2018): “The RHCE is a requirement for my job at Red Hat and I had access to all sorts of training material and I still prefer Jang’s.”

Other books on RHEL 7

  • Andrew Mallett‘s Learning RHEL Networking could almost belong to the RHCSA & RHCE 7 guides if some topics of the curriculum were not missing like the procedure to change the password at boot or some networking subjects like bonding, teaming or routing, something incredible for a book with this name. However, don’t get me wrong, Andrew Mallett, also known as The Urban Penguin, is a very knowledgeable author: this means that you always learn something from one of his books. Here, the book is geared towards beginners and Windows administrators. For beginners, it offers a large panel of subjects (sudoNetworkManager, DNS, DHCP, NTP, iSCSI, LVM, NFS+autofs, Apache, Postfix, SELinux, Firewalld, Samba, Kerberos client) with BtrFS configuration as a bonus. For Windows administrators, it provides a deep dive into Windows Active Directory integration. If one of the previously mentioned topics interests you,the book will bring you clear and progressive explanations.
  • Jonathan Hobson‘s Troubleshooting CentOS is a very interesting book but it can’t compete in the RHCSA 7/RHCE 7 book category: this book teaches you how to troubleshoot services but not how to configure them.
    Unfortunately, there are some important oversights: no mention of  nmap; nothing about yum history undo last; Journald, one of the features brought by Systemd to improve system monitoring from early boot to final shutdown, doesn’t receive any attention!
    Also, choices made in the book are sometimes difficult to understand: good coverage of Xfs troubleshooting but nothing about Ext4! Good explanation about moving a user from one group to another but nothing about the ability for a user to get an additional group!
    However, besides these little imperfections, this book is full of useful tips that every system administrator should know to get his job done and explores rarely discussed topics (rpmdb recovery, MariaDB password recovery, Tripwire installation, Auditd, etc) successfully.
  • Thibault Bartolone‘s Red Hat Enterprise Linux – CentOS (in French) is an excellent introduction to the Red Hat world. The first edition of the book covered RHEL 6. The second edition has recently been updated with good RHEL 7 material.
    If you are new to RHEL or CentOS, this book will help you understand many topics and will provide you the right fundamentals.
  • William LeemansRed Hat Enterprise Linux Server Cookbook is an interesting book geared towards seasoned system administrators searching for production deployment solutions in the RHEL 7 environment. The author provides relevant recipes coming from his real expertise in KVM, Kickstart, Ansible and Puppet. He also explores the performance management domain with a chapter on PCP (Performance Co-Pilot). Many other recipes covering production subjects are also addressed like the deployment with PXE, the network configuration of servers, SELinux, or the management of Yum repositories. However, the chapters about Systemd or Firewalld are less convincing. If deployment of RHEL 7 production servers is the core of your job, this book will definitively help you.
  • Humble Devassy Chirammal, Prasad Mukhedkar, Anil Vettathu’s Mastering KVM Virtualization is the first book in English really discussing KVM in detail. Before, you could find some information on Internet (libvirt.org, wiki.qemu.org, etc), through one chapter or several pages of a book but it was always pretty limited. Here, the authors, all working for Red Hat, explore the theory behind the virtualization and present some KVM internals. Then, they address many facets like network, storage, live migration and snapshot, giving many examples on each topic. They delve into OpenvSwitch, showing the advantages over the basic Linux bridge. Finally, they introduce oVirt, discuss OpenStack deployment, performance tuning and best practices.
    If you really want to get a good understanding of KVM, you need this book.


This page contains some “affiliate links”. These links provide me with some compensation if you click on them and then purchase some items.
I will always offer my own, truthful opinions and won’t take any compensation in exchange for publishing an opinion.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 3.60 out of 5)
47 comments on “RHEL7 Book review
  1. ansuya says:

    I just bought this one:
    Rhcsa & Rhce Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7: Training and Exam Preparation Guide (Ex200 and Ex300), Third Edition 27 mars 2015
    by Asghar Ghori
    Is it complet and sufficient for preparation of exam RHCE?

    • CertDepot says:

      As I explained in my recent book review, this book won’t be enough to succeed in the RHCE exam. It brings some material but not at the level expected for this exam. You will obviously need a lot of lab trainings to improve your troubleshooting experience and instructions to set up a KDC or IPA server to test your Kerberos client/secure NFS configuration (you can find such instructions on my website).
      Also, if you don’t follow any Red Hat training, you will certainly need to look at the Red Hat website and perhaps get additional RHCE material from the van Vugt‘s or Jang‘s books when they become available.
      For example, in Asghar Ghori‘s book, there is no Kerberos question in both RHCE sample exams. Is it realistic?

  2. lucac81 says:

    I bought the previous edition of Ghori’s book last year to attend RHCSA, but due to lack of time I wasn’t able to book the exam.
    Now that RHEL7 and new edition of the book are out, do you think that I have to buy the new edition for RHCSA or I can use the old edition and integrate with other resources specific for RHEL7 (are there RHEL7 only questions in RHCSA?)

    • CertDepot says:

      For your information, I bought both versions (6 and 7) of Ghori‘s book. I think you should be able to only use the RHEL 6 version of the book because a good part of the exam objectives is exactly the same. However, you will need to learn Systemd seriously. Finally, don’t forget to practice the password recovery procedure that is different and causes a lot of exam failures.

  3. Dave says:

    I bought Ghori’s book on the latest version of RHEL to prepare for the RHCSA exam, and I passed it. I am now reading it for RHCE. I am following the exercises and labs. I am on chapter 19 and so far I do not seem to have any issues. I visited his website for errata and noticed he posted procedures on OpenLDAP and Kerberos server configuration to test the client settings provided in the book. I am shooting for the CE exam next month.


    • CertDepot says:

      I discussed with Asghar Ghori before writing the review of his book. I suppose he took into account my remarks about OpenLDAP and Kerberos server configurations at least.

  4. Dave says:


    I’d like to share the good news that I passed the RHCE exam last week. Asghar Ghori’s book had been really very helpful. The instructions are great and easy to comprehend. The author had been very responsive. I got answers to my questions within a day.


  5. tom says:

    I have both Asghar and Sander book. I passed RHCSA by learning Asghar’s book and now I am preparing for RHCE and I am using both books.

    Unfortunately I have to say that both of them have mistakes. And actually Sander’s book have quite a lot of them. Also some of Sander’s advises and claims are really doubtful and even wrong. So you have to be very careful when studying from these books. Don’t trust everything what is written there and check yourself!

  6. tom says:


    Sorry, I did not want to blame anyone.

    I have only read first 4 chapters from RHCE part. I think doubtful is Sander’s advice to use sssd instead of nslcd. In real world surely sssd is preferred, but not in exam. There are several issues with sssd: when you install it, sssd.conf file is not present, you have to create it manually or copy from examples. Sssd will not start if not correct permissions are set. Even when you set correct permissions it will not start if you don’t configure at least one identity provider domain. Then you need to configure /etc/sysconfig/authconfig. You cannot use authconfig until sssd is up and running. There are so many things that can fail in sssd and you have so little time to troubleshoot it! And unfortunately Sander does not mention anything about this. You can check TROUBLESHOOTING SSSD chapter in RHEL7 System Level Authentication Guide and you will see how many prerequisites there are to start sssd. So I think it is not worth to waste any time to configure sssd when nslcd just works!

    As “wrong” I meant iSCSI configuration, it contains way too much mistakes. Also quite weird is that in System Performance Reporting chapter dstat is not even mentioned.

    Anyway, what I meant is that one should not blindly follow everything that is written in these books and one book is not better than other. They both are very good resources to prepare for exams, though.

    • CertDepot says:

      I’m not an expert in sssd. I will not discuss what you said.
      However, concerning the iSCSI configuration, I don’t think van Vugt‘s chapter is as weak as Ghori‘s. About the Performance Reporting chapter, one of the proofreader was the author of a performance-related package. I can tell you that he knew his stuff. Furthermore, I’ve got more than 20 years of Unix/Linux experience and I don’t know the dstat command! I’m not saying that you are wrong, I’m saying that knowing the dstat command is definitively not mandatory for a RHCSA candidate.
      I agree that both books present some interest. I would still think Ghori‘s book is more geared towards RHCSA and van Vugt‘s towards RHCE but it’s my opinion.

  7. manees07 says:

    I was wondering if I had to go with just one book for RHCSA then which one would be best? As I can see the poll suggest Van Vugt’s book whereas this article kind of suggest Ghori’s book. That made me confuse on which book to get? I am trying to give RHEL7 RHCSA exam. So, for the sole purpose of RHCSA only which one should be better?


    • CertDepot says:

      This is a very difficult question for me. Both books are pretty good for preparing the RHCSA exam. I think van Vugt‘s book is better for the RHCE exam but, as I was part of the proofreaders, my opinion may be slightly biased.
      Also, if you don’t have much experience, Ghori‘s book will be easier to read and understand with a smooth progression. If you are more experienced, van Vugt‘s book will teach you advanced details.

  8. Tashir says:

    Hi guys,

    How legit is this book? They even guarantee return of money 😀

  9. mikayp says:

    I’m working on RHCSA at the moment and have been using Ghori’s book. I have to say I really don’t rate it. There are plenty of mistakes and I find in areas it’s more focussed on telling you what to do than explaining how something works.

    There are other areas where I found it very hard going to just read it. This site (and a few others) has saved my ass on a few of these topics.

    I hope I’m right in thinking the book covers the general areas of the exam so you know what you need to learn – but it doesn’t seem enough to learn stuff on its own, and definitely not if you want to understand things.

    1 question – is the exam pure practical. Learning all the switches for commands is a massive ball ache I would rather avoid if I can.

    • CertDepot says:

      Ghori’s book was the first book to deal with the RHCSA exam. I personally found it OK on this part.
      Now, other arguably better books are available.

  10. number 6 says:

    Bought Michael Jang’s book from your link, thanks again for being the best RH cert site!

  11. sairamkrishna9 says:

    I am very thank full for this article. Can you please post the link for Sander van Vugt‘s Red Hat RHCE/RHCSA 7 Cert Guide 2nd Edition, So that i can buy it. Can you also give us an review about the second edition ? Is it revised and has less typos ?
    Thank You.

  12. raminderbajwa says:

    Hi, Just now got the e-mail from RedHat saying I passed RHCSA-7.
    I followed Sander Van Vugt’s book. And will start preparing for RHCE following the same book again!
    BTW: Between the time I started preparation and took the exam was 11days only. =:)
    Yes I’m an experienced SA with past experience. But let me tell you…RHEL-7 is a new beast. And it seems I tamed it!
    (Pat at my back)….lol

  13. Phil says:

    Hey there Cert,

    I have been going through Asghar Ghori’s book and so far so good, but I stumbled on a problem since day 1. I thought I could bypass the issue (by leaving it to DHCP which worked fine) but it eventually caught up with me few Chapters later (precisely in Chapter 6). The issue I’m having is setting up a static IP address on my virtual box CentOS 7 “Host 1” machine but it doesn’t connect to the internet even after restarting the network. I don’t know if my VirtualBox settings are wrong or they are conflicting with my physical Windows 10 host machine interface settings.

    -My bare-metal physical machine is Windows 10
    -My host1 machine is CentOS7 (in Virtual Box)
    -My servers 1&2 (which I have not yet set up because of this issue with host1 not connecting to the internet with a static IP address) will be set up inside host1 (which itself is a virtual machine) as virtual machines.

    Thank you, and I’ll be waiting to hear from you soon since I can’t even move forward through the book without this issue being fixed. I truly appreciate that and thanks again !


    • CertDepot says:

      I’m not a Virtual Box expert but I wouldn’t try to do a virtual machine into another virtual machine: it’s slow and doesn’t work with all the virtualization configurations (software+hardware).
      I would create two virtual machines server1 and server2 with Virtual Box.
      On the network side, you have normally three types of configuration: NAT mode (you use the host network interface in a non-transparent way: you can connect to the Internet but the outside world can’t reach you), bridged mode (you use the host network interface in a transparent way: you have a different IP address but you can connect to the Internet and the outside world can reach you) and the isolated mode where you can only talk to the host or the other virtual machines in the same host.
      For a lab, the NAT mode is the easier to set up and should be enough.

      • Lisenet says:


        VirtualBox does not support nested virtualisation (VT-in-VT). You cannot turn a VirtualBox guest into a hypervisor.

        Now on a networking side, which method (network adapter) do you use? Check here if unsure: https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch06.html

        If you use NAT, then your guest gets a DHCP lease from a built-in VirtualBox DHCP server. If you want to assign IPs yourself, use internal, bridged or Host-only adapters.

  14. Phil says:

    Hey Cert,

    Asghar Ghori gave you a shout out at the bottom of this website page http://getitcertify.com/6-errata-rrre7.php

    He mentioned he just forgot to shout you out in the writing of his book.

    So good job!

  15. mibzsl says:

    Hi Guys, I am following ‘Michael Jang & Alessandro Orsaria‘s RHCSA/RHCE Red Hat Linux Certification Study Guide 7th edition’ for preparing my RHCE exam. In Chapter 8 User management, there is a confusion, it’s say use ‘system-config-user’ command to open the User management GUI, but I can’t find this command in my Centos system. I also tried with ‘yum install system-config-user’ and ‘yum install system-config-services’ but nothing happened. I also searched with google for a solution but there is not much information about that. Is anybody know about how to get this tool or know if this command has been replaced by another command?

    My system: Centos 7.3


  16. tomasson says:

    Hi CertDepot,

    As of today, are RHCSA and RHCE exams still based on RHEL 7.0?
    Can’t find this information anywhere; RedHat website states “RHEL 7” but not sure if the exams are based on 7.0 or 7.x

    Thanks in advance,

  17. Jose says:

    Hi, I hope this would be the right thread to post this theme, I am looking for someone to recommend me a book so I can prepare the EX413 and EX442 certifications, if you can only recommend me some part of a book that may cover well the topics, it also helps me.

  18. lozingalo says:

    Hi, last month I tried RHCSA but I didn’t pass it.
    I used the book of Sander Van Vugt that is fine in general but didn’t explain the configuration of autofs with ldap and how to configure and enable a repository with url http.
    Autofs is explained a little and about the repository, it only explains how to create your own repo, locally, not using http and its GPG key.
    Said this, what is the better book and/or internet site in which to find all the arguments and the exercises? I’ll retry the exam soon.
    Thank you very much

    • CertDepot says:

      As explained in my webpage about book review (https://www.certdepot.net/rhel7-book-review/), I personally found Michael Jang & Alessandro Orsaria‘s RHCSA/RHCE Red Hat Linux Certification Study Guide 7th edition a more comprehensive book dealing better with the various topics. I advise you to read it.

    • Lisenet says:

      Repository creation is simple is you check any of the existing .repo files on your CentOS system and use it as a template. For example, this would configure and enable a repository for the given URL.

      name=My Web Repo

      Autofs configuration isn’t hard either. On a client machine, install autofs:

      # yum install autofs nfs-utils

      Add the following line to the file /etc/auto.master:

      /home/guests  /etc/auto.guests

      Create the file /etc/auto.guests with the following content, where is the IP address of your NFS server:

      * -rw

      Enable and restart the autofs service:

      # systemctl enable autofs && systemctl restart autofs

      Try logging in with an LDAP user. Some bits might be different but you should get the idea.

  19. konrad says:


    Thanks for this website. I would like to take following exams as a part of my RHCA path:

    1) EX318 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Virtualization exam
    2) EX342 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Linux Diagnostics and Troubleshooting exam
    3) EX413 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Server Security and Hardening exam

    I wonder if you know any books for those exams? I tried to find something but no luck. Obviously I will focus on Red Hat online Product Documentation and manuals. However it would be nice to know if there are any other resources that I can learn from.


    • CertDepot says:

      Sorry, I don’t know any book specificly written for these exams. Also, I didn’t take these exams.
      However, about virtualization and KVM, I found a lot of useful information in “Mastering KVM Virtualization” (Packt, 2016).
      Also, a book like “Linux Bible 9th Edition” (Wiley, 2015) can provide you some good materials on the security side.

    • Lisenet says:

      EX318 is based on RHEV, the best study material is available on Red Hat’s website: https://access.redhat.com/documentation/en-us/red_hat_virtualization/4.2/

      EX342 material is covered by Sander van Vugt, search for his “Linux Troubleshooting Complete Video Course: Red Hat EX342”.

      Oreilly have a short video course for EX413, it’s called “Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Server Hardening – Exam EX413 Training”.

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